If a VW Golf or Ford Focus is already part of your family, the Nissan Leaf will effortlessly replace it.  It is a conventional family car – a 5 door hatchback, with good rear legroom and ample space for 5.  It has a 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating and is the UK’s most popular all-electric car.  It is the consummate all-rounder.  Pre 2016 models have a real-world range of around 80 miles (up to 124 miles are advertised) which will comfortably take you from Paddington to Portsmouth on a full charge.  Later models with the 30kwh battery will get you even further – up to 120 real world miles!

The cleverly positioned charging points in the nose allow charging from a domestic supply or from designated fast or rapid charging points.  Some have the faster-charging 6.6KwH option which will accelerate your charging time when using a
fast-charging unit.

The Leaf is charming to drive – the 107bhp electric motor gives a top speed of 100mph.  Its handling is decent with light and linear steering which suits urban use perfectly.  It has a wholly safe feel whilst being a satisfying drive with its dramatically designed headlights directing airflow away from the door mirrors reducing aerodynamic drag.

The interior is bright and airy either in a light grey or a matt black leather depending on the model.  Both are high quality and comfortable.  The driving position is higher than the average hatchback which gives great visibility and would only cause headroom problems for those well over 6ft.  And the boot amply fits a weekly food shop, golf clubs or for one of our customers
a tenor tuba!

The dashboard is straightforward and unfussy.  How much energy is being used by the motor and how much is being used by ancillary power drains (such as air conditioning and phone charging) are clearly displayed separately.  Eco driving is rewarded on screen with leaves – during your journey you can grow up to 4 trees!  And if you have a smartphone, an App allows you to engage the air conditioning or heating before getting into the car – and preferably whilst it is still on charge.

The models:

Visia: the basic model including air conditioning, keyless entry, Bluetooth and a usb port.

Acenta: the mid-range model which additionally brings 16in alloys, a reversing camera, a heat pump-based heating system which uses less battery power and NissanConnect which includes an EV telematics system with info on the nearest charging points and eco routing.

Tekna: the top of the range model brings all the toys and an enhanced leather interior, heated seats all round, a heated steering wheel, Bose sound system and 360 degree camera.

Optional extras: many of the Visias have been upgraded to include a reversing camera and heated seats/steering wheel.  Some have a solar panel on the roof spoiler which helps charge the 12 volt battery which powers accessories.

Colours: storm or arctic white, pearl black, blade silver, gun metallic, bronze, solid or metallic red and for older models
a sonic blue.